(Just in case you thought an author’s life was glamorous…NOT.)
Nothing like waking up on a MONDAY before you’ve even finished your first cup of coffee, no less, to realize your house’s ONLY toilet is LEAKING. Oh, from the BOTTOM.
And it’s a sixty+ year-old WOOD-FRAME house.
And yes, it’s the original toilet.
Worse, apparently it’s been leaking for a while. A couple of times over the past few weeks, I thought the bath mat was damp and it was weird, but I didn’t notice anything else (I hadn’t finished redoing the floor in there, and there was a additional layer of OLD linoleum tiles under the layer of linoleum I was covering up, so it seeped down to the wood, not an obvious puddle. (You can see from the picture.)
Yes, that’s epoxy on the tank, because it’s so old there AREN’T tanks that fit it anymore, and ripping it out was neither in the budget, nor was I even sure I could replace it with a modern toilet because I didn’t know what I was dealing with underneath.
Oh, did I mention Sir’s out of town this week on business, and a plumber isn’t in the budget? *head/desk* He was on His way to the airport when I discovered this.
So after I (seriously) took a Xanax to calm me down and stop my crying (I was up until 5am that previous night because I’d been on deadline and drank waaaay too much coffee after a friend’s memorial service that I didn’t want to miss.) I started pulling stuff apart.
Yes, it’s held down by four screws, not flange bolts.
There was no wax ring left to speak of, only some vague remnants of it and a black flange (in pieces). No telling how long it’s been since Grandaddy had put the last one on. I’m guessing based on the caulk stuck to the linoleum at least 20 years or longer.
So the partial demo began. I needed to get it at least functional (did I mention it’s this house’s ONLY toilet??) so it’ll last until this weekend when Sir’s home and can come help me cut out the rotted flooring under it and replace it.
Sir was at the airport getting ready to fly out and I was texting Him pictures for advice on what to do next. He kept telling me to go to Home Depot but there’s a plumbing supply place in town that’s farther, but they know plumbing. We had to go there once before when we redid the shower valves because–sixty+ years old–no one else HAD the guts that would fit inside them and be able to help us figure it out. I was willing to make the drive.
So I took pictures with a tape measure laid out next to everything just to be sure. (I’m no dummy. I can deal with MODERN plumbing issues on my own. I’ve replaced wax rings before…on MODERN toilets. I could not disassemble this toilet because 1 – the tank’s fragile, and 2 – I was afraid if I disassembled the toilet and broke the tank or couldn’t get seals for it, I’d still be screwed.) They guy at the pluming house (It’s Buck’s, by the way, if you’re in the Tampa area, they’re FANTASTIC.) was able to give me advice.I stopped by a Lowe’s on the way home, just in case, to look at toilets and get measurements on rough-in size. The average is 12″ from the wall, but I wasn’t sure where they based that on. After I get home the first time, I realized (because, dummy me, I didn’t take a picture of the underside of the toilet the first time around) that I needed that flange to be sure.
Sir, about to board the plane, told me to go to Home Depot. I went back to Buck’s, with even more measurements, to get a wax ring with a flange, and to ask them about the rough-in distance based on my picture. (I found out if worse came to worse they could get me a toilet that would work in a narrower space, but I reeeeeaaaallly didn’t want to have to buy a new toilet because it’s NOT IN THE BUDGET.) The extra dive and fighting with traffic was worth it because THEY KNOW SHIT. Um, no pun intended. But seriously, if you ask them a question, they don’t look at you like you just spoke to them in a foreign language. They actually UNDERSTAND what you mean because they are a PLUMBING supply house. (Hey, my version of #smallbusinessSaturday.)
Back home. More demo starts. And I’m hoping the new closet screws even will hold in the soft wood. (I forbade Sir and my DnD friends to make jokes about “one ring” or “soft wood” or I’d go all TPK on them. If you get what that means…you and I should probably be friends.)
Hubby had helped me get the old toilet moved. Fortunately, we didn’t hurt ourselves or it in the process. (The fucker’s heavy, especially with the tank on it.) After more peeling up of old linoleum, I finally took a deep breath and we got the toilet put back in place. (It’s a tiny bathroom, too, fyi.)
After we GENTLY twisted it a little bit, I had him sit on it while I (tried) to get the closet screws in place. Ended up having to tap on the cap nuts with a hammer to get them to start, then used a ratchet to get them in. Took forever, and they’re not straight or very secure. But when I test-flushed it…no leakage. (YAY! Who knew such small victories were so satisfying?)
Hopefully it holds until this weekend when we can do a better repair (and I’ll be biting the bullet to put a new toilet in.)
As long as it doesn’t go through the floor by then or start leaking again.
Huge shout-out to my peeps in the Trybe for letting me vent, and especially to the sweet lady who volunteered her boyfriend to come help me–ironically he was working in the area–but by the time I read that I’d already got it back in and flushing. After we got it back in and working, I FINALLY got my shower. Up to that point (it was now after 6pm) I’d had one cup of coffee, a Xanax, a cheese stick, and two green Gatorades. LOL Hubby fed me dinner and I had another Xanax and collapsed. And my hands are REALLY feeling the pain today. UGH.
I take great comfort in the fact that if the zombie apocalypse does hit, I’ll be the chick Frankensteining shit to make it work. Might not be “right,” and might not be pretty, but at least it’ll make do long enough. (You should see the water heater. LOL)
I hope. LOL (Well, that, and I have firearms, ammo, terrific aim, and a love of make-shift weaponry. LOL)
I’ll post the second part of this once we get it done. (Hopefully this weekend.)
And hopefully you’ll forgive me for shamelessly inserting promo at the bottom of this post. Please buy my books. LOL Keep me and Hubby in a flushing toilet and working plumbing! LOL